What Should Bridesmaids Actually Pay For?

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Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a great honor, but it also can often be expensive. According to a WeddingWire report, the average cost for bridesmaids is $1,200 per wedding – though the costs can be more depending on which costs they’re expected to cover.

Not sure what to ask your bridesmaids to pay for? Here are a few guidelines and tips for reducing costs, according to wedding experts.

Attire and Accessories

A majority of typical costs for bridesmaids are for their “look” for the big day, such as the dress, shoes and accessories. The average price of a bridesmaid dress is between $150 and $200, however, that doesn’t take into account the additional cost of alterations. Bridesmaids may also be asked to wear specific jewelry, shoes and other accessories to ensure the whole group matches.

One way to make your wedding day more affordable for your bridesmaids is to choose a cost-conscious dress or even allow bridesmaids to select their own dresses.

“At my own wedding, I had everyone wear mismatched styles of the same designer and fabric color, so a way a few of my bridesmaids saved money was to shop their dresses in advance on sites like Rent The Runway, Poshmark, etc.,” says Erika Edholm, co-owner and lead designer for Bloom & BluePrint Event Company in Phoenix, Arizona. “My maid of honor found a Jenny Yoo dress in the color I requested for $70, which is fraction of the retail price.”

Hair and Makeup

This particular cost is more of a toss up. While it’s common for bridesmaids to foot the bill for their own hair and makeup costs, many brides do cover these services to their wedding party as an added perk.

“Asking ahead of time if your maids would be interested in hair and makeup is a nice way to help people decide if they can or want to afford services well in advance of your wedding day,” advises Edholm.

If your bridesmaids are on a tight budget, consider allowing them to go the DIY for hair and makeup. Or, if you have a friend with a gift for beauty, see if they’re willing to lend a hand on the big day.

“Just make sure they understand the pressure of working under a time constraint – even professionals sometimes get a little behind schedule,” adds Edholm.

Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Parties

In addition to the big day itself, there are often costs associated with the pre-wedding events. Traditionally, whoever is hosting the bridal shower foots the bill. Often this is the mother of the bride, but sometimes it’s planned by the maid or honor or by all the bridesmaids.

If it’s the latter, bridesmaids can expect to split the costs for the party, including decorations, venue, drinks and food. If not, it’s still customary for bridesmaids to bring a gift.

The bachelorette party is a bit trickier. For a one-day event, bridesmaids should plan on splitting upfront costs, such as a tiara or bottle of champagne. It’s also nice if they plan on covering the costs for the bride. If it’s a destination or weekend long party, each attendee should plan on paying for their own travel and accommodations.

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